Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Culture

Icelanders more pleased with life than most nations

By Staff

  • The weather doesn't seem to bring Icelanders down Polls consistently show Icelanders as being unusually pleased with their lot in life. One thing is certain: It's not because of the sunny skies and good weather. Photo/Daníel Rúnarsson.

Icelanders tend to be happy about their lives and cautiously optimistic about the future. According to the End of Year Survey by Gallup International and WIN (Worldwide Network of Market Research) 78% of Icelanders are happy with their lives. Only 4% of Icelanders report they are unhappy about their lives, compared to a global average of 10%. The proportion of Icelanders who reported they were happy with their lives in 2015 rose from the year before, from 73%. At the same time the world average has dropped, from 70% to 66%.

Read more: Iceland has the second highest quality of life among OECD countries

Net happiness, defined as the portion of people who are happy minus those who are unhappy, is 74% in Iceland, compared to a global average of 56%. By this measure Iceland is the tenth happiest country in the world, and the only European country to reach this list. Colombia tops the list with 85% net happiness, followed by Fiji and Saudi Arabia (82%), Azerbaijan (81%), Vietnam (80%), Argentina and Panama (79%), Mexico (76%) Ecuador (75%) and China (74%).

According to the poll France and Italy are the least happy countries in the world, with a net (un)happiness of -33%, closely followed by Bulgaria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with negative 30% net happiness.

While Icelanders are becoming increasingly happy about their lives they seem to have modest expectations of how much their happiness can improve. Icelanders certainly seem to be more cautious in their expectations than people in the rest of the world. A little less than a third or 29% of Icelanders expect they will be happier in a year, compared to a global average of 54%. At the same time 27% of Icelanders expect next year to be characterized by economic prosperity, compared to a global average of 45%.

Read more: Iceland’s crisis management In two words: "Þetta reddast"

The poll is conducted in 68 countries at year’s end. This is the 39th time the poll is conducted.

Related content

Editor's Picks